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Refis Surge as Rates Relent

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New refinance activity leapt this week as interest rates were down around 10 basis points.

Mortgage pricing inquiries rose 31 percent this week based on the U.S. Mortgage Market Index from Mortech Inc. and MortgageDaily.com, which came in at 234. But compared to the same week during 2010, activity was off 30 percent.

Refinances led the way, rising 44 percent from last week’s index. The share of total inquires that were for a refinance transaction increased to 54 percent from 49 percent last week. Refinance share was 61 percent a year ago. This week’s refinance share reflected a 40 percent rate-term share and a 14 percent cashout share.

Purchase activity climbed 18 percent in the latest report.

Conventional lending inquires were up almost a third, while pricing inquiries for loans that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration rose nearly a quarter.

Prospective borrowers who inquired about an adjustable-rate mortgage increased by 28 percent from last week. Of all activity this week, 9.91 percent was ARM business.

Driving this week’s improvement were mortgage rates.

The average 30-year conforming mortgage fell to 4.675 percent from last week’s 4.788 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.555 percent at this point last year.

The jumbo 30-year mortgage was down 8 basis points over the past seven days versus the 11-basis point decline for the conforming 30 year. The disparate drop left jumbo mortgages costing 47 BPS more this week than conforming mortgages, worse than the 43-basis-point spread last week.

The conforming 15 year became more attractive in the most recent report. This week the 15 year was priced 86 BPS lower than the 30 year. The pricing spread between the two terms last week was 85 BPS.

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